Inquest into Fiona Pilkington and her severely disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick
Tuesday 29 September 2009
Inquest into how Fiona Pilkington and her severely disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick were found dead in a burning car following years of abuse from a local gang:
Mark Goldring, Mencap's Chief Executive, said:
"These horrific deaths are yet another tragic example of how a vulnerable young person with a learning disability, and her family, have been completely betrayed by the authorities responsible for their care.
"Mencap believes this should be the watershed moment for disability hate crime, when the government and the police treat all disability hate crime as seriously as racist hate crime. If this does not happen, the 1.5 million people with a learning disability will continue to be victims of abuse and torture.
"How many more defenceless people must die for these incidents to be treated as a crime rather than anti-social behaviour? It's a shocking indictment that it has taken the deaths of two vulnerable members of our society for the authorities to act. We cannot allow this to be repeated.
"The government admits not knowing the true scale of hate crimes against people with a learning disability. Mencap is now urging people to share their experiences to gauge the full extent of this issue and ensure the government takes real action.
"People with a learning disability and their families who have been victims of hate crime can share their stories by visiting www.mencap.org.uk"
Mencap spokespeople are available. For more information contact Stacey Kerr on 020 7696 5950, 07770 6566 59 (out of hours) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other cases of hate crime and abuse against people with a learning disability:
- (Sep 24, 2009): A Telford GP who persuaded a 17-year old acne patient with a learning disability to perform a sex act on him at his surgery has been struck off the medical register.
- David Cox (June 2009): Despite moving home, 18-year old David was knocked to the ground and killed during an altercation with a group of youths. Three men were arrested and bailed, pending further investigation.
- Brent Martin (2007): repeatedly punched, kicked, stamped on and head butted by three youths.
- Steven Hoskin (2006): violently tortured before being forced to take a lethal does of painkillers and fall from a bridge to his death
- Kevin Davies (2006): beaten, locked in a shed, and only given scraps of food to eat while thieves stole his benefit money.
- Christine Lakinski (2007): collapsed outside her home and while she lay dying, her neighbour urinated on her and covered her with shaving foam. He filmed this on his mobile phone while other people watched.
Notes to editors
- Mencap works with people with a learning disability and their families and carers.
- 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability.
- A learning disability is caused by the way the brain develops before, during or shortly after birth. It is always lifelong.
- Learning disability affects someone's intellectual and social development all their life. People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate.
- People with a learning disability don't get an equal chance in life. Mencap fights to change laws and services and to provide better access to education, employment and leisure facilities, supporting thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
- It is not a mental illness and should not be confused with mental health issues. It is not dyslexia or Asperger's syndrome.
- It used to be called mental handicap but we don't use this term anymore because most people with a learning disability find it offensive.
- For information about learning disability issues please call the Learning Disability Helpline (England) on 0808 808 1111 or visit www.mencap.org.uk